Friday 5: Imperial Charm owns upside in Woodbine's E.P. Taylor

October 11, 2019 12:30pm
Analyzing European horses always proves a time-consuming process. But one tip to help is that most group stakes races in France and the United Kingdom are higher class races than in Germany, no matter if they are all at the Group 1 level.

In Saturday's Grade 1, $600,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1) at Woodbine, one European invader is German-based, while the other three made their last starts in France. Out of those four, Imperial Charm is preferred, and I'll explain why below to lead the Friday 5.

Woodbine Race 8: E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1)

Imperial Charm gets the nod because of her class and pedigree.

Four starts ago, Imperial Charm was a close fourth in the one-mile Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (G1), only two lengths behind the winner Castle Lady. Three starts ago, Imperial Charm ran a great race to finish third in the 1 ¼-mile Prix Saint Alary (G1), 1 ½ lengths behind Siyarafina. Both races came at the well-known Longchamp.

Even though Imperial Charm faded toward the end of the Prix Saint Alary, she gets a pass for facing good horses.

This 3-year-old filly is a daughter of Dubawi out of Reem Three. The latter horse won twice at 10.4 furlongs. Also, Imperial Charm's older siblings Ajman Princess and Naqshabban both won at 1 ½ miles at least once.

The only knock against Imperial Charm is the 1-for-8 overall record. But considering this is a young filly with class, the upside makes her attractive in this late season feature.

Keeneland Race 3: Optional Claimer

This seven-furlong sprint includes American Anthem, the former Bob Baffert trainee who finds a new home under trainer Rodolphe Brisset. But American Anthem is 3/5 on the morning line, and that unfortunately looks accurate.

One alternative is Fact Finding, the winner of a Sept. 20 optional claimer at Churchill Downs at the same distance by ¾ of a length over Dak Attack.

Fact Finding only earned a 108 TimeformUS Speed Figure for the win, but speed figures do not always represent a horse's true ability in slow-paced races. The slow pace skews the final time and figure.

This 5-year-old gelding also displayed promise early in his career by winning three straight races before briefly entering the Derby trail in the 2017 Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3). But after fading to fifth, he went on the shelf.

In his older age, it could be time for Fact Finding to step forward for trainer Charlie LoPresti. At 5-1, that is enough value to find out as a bettor.

Belmont Park Race 8: Maiden

Because Ashaar is a first-time starter, this selection is pedigree based.

Obviously, Ashaar's sire, Into Mischief, knows how create early winners. But Ashaar's second dam, Chaposa Springs, is notable too considering she broke her maiden at first asking and won the 1995 Test Stakes (G1) and 1996 Ballerina Stakes (G1), as well as other sprint races.

Ashaar's older half-brother, Mendip, also won his first three starts before finishing third in the 2010 UAE Derby (G2).

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is not the best with first-time starters. According to TimeformUS, he hits at only 5 percent in this category.

But exceptions happen, especially if the pedigree is right. If Ashaar attracts money and becomes the favorite, except him to fire.

Belmont Race 9: Sands Point Stakes (G2)

Romantic Pursuit did not run terrible in the inaugural Jockey Club Oaks Invitational. She set the pace and only got a little tired late for fourth.

Two starts ago, Romantic Pursuit won won an optional claimer at Saratoga over Dyna Passer, who is 7/2 in this race.

In this spot, Romantic Pursuit cuts back to nine furlongs, which is great because it means she will not set the pace. Rather, she can sit right off Souper Escape and make the first move, while creating separation.

For pedigree lovers, her dam, Questing, is recognizable as one of the top fillies in 2012. She won the Alabama Stakes by an incredible nine lengths.

Romantic Pursuit is the choice at 7/2. As long as she does not become favored, that is fair value.

Santa Anita Race 6: Maiden

On paper, this is a weak 2-year-old maiden race for fillies. Most of the main contenders in this field are questionable in the stamina department.

But one exception is Overjoyed, a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro out of Belle Watling. This dam also produced Land Over Sea and War Story.

With such a route-oriented pedigree, the two-turn mile will pose no problem. But is Overjoyed fast enough? That is one concern.

Trainer Neil Drysdale started this filly in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes to begin her career, which is a sign of confidence even though she finished fifth. Plus, Mike Smith stays aboard despite the mild effort.

At second choice or higher, Overjoyed is the right bet.


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